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Volume 6 no 2

From The Editor

Wisdom upstream, bliss downstream

As a boy I used to play in a small stream in the neighbourhood. I knew what 'disturbing' the water upstream meant - people downstream had to contend with muddy, sometimes, polluted water. Of course, there were times when I was a victim of my own mischief. A child's play it may be, but that is the way all things in life works - where there is a cause, there will be effects.

An activity upstream produces an effect downstream. Those who are wise know it too well. Thus, it is said that 'the wise fears the cause' while 'the ignorant fears the consequences'. Those who have wisdom know very well the kind of consequences or effects their actions can lead to, and they are therefore mindful of committing wrong deeds. Whereas, people who are ignorant, only begin to fear the consequences of their actions after they have committed them. They are afraid to face the punishments that stem from their own wrong doings. It will be too late.

If life can be compared with water moving through a stream, then what is upstream soon becomes downstream. What is downstream today, becomes the upstream of the future. Therefore, exercise our wisdom upstream, so that we will always have bliss downstream.

When Buddhism speaks of 'cause and effect', it is not merely describing a natural phenomenon. It is also not simply to caution people not to disturb the water upstream. Most important of all, it is to guide people in their actions, in what they do everyday, in order to derive bliss and happiness in life. Thus, what we do, what we say and what goes on in our mind have a direct bearing on the quality of the life that we shall lead, if not today, then perhaps tomorrow, next year, the year after or even in the next life. The water will always flow downstream, bringing bliss or suffering as the case may be. We can either congratulate or blame ourselves for it.

There is indeed boundless bliss and happiness in life. They are everywhere for the taking. Take a cue from the Buddha's teachings; after all, the purpose of these teachings is to help sentient beings alienate from suffering and attain bliss. May you have an abundance of them.

Be with Buddha.

Copyright 2002.Jen Chen Buddhism Centre